Formerly Gay Christian Discusses His 'Exodus'

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Exodus International holds its annual meeting Tuesday. Alan Chambers, head of the organization, describes his "choice to come out of homosexuality," and his life as a husband and father.

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MADELEINE BRAND, host:

Well, some gays don't like who they are and they want to change; that's the position of the group Exodus International. Exodus calls itself the nation's largest ex-gay ministry. It's holding a conference this week here in southern California. Alan Chambers is the president of Exodus and he joins me now from the conference. Welcome to the program.

Mr. ALAN CHAMBERS (President, Exodus International): Thank you.

BRAND: And to explain to our listeners, you used to be gay, right?

Mr. CHAMBERS: I did.

BRAND: And now you're married to a woman and have children?

Mr. CHAMBERS: I am married, which is not a diploma for my healing. That was just simply a benefit of my choice to come out of homosexuality.

BRAND: Why do you say healing?

Mr. CHAMBERS: Well, because for me it was something that was an amazing benefit to know that I could come out of homosexuality and then to experience life on the other side.

BRAND: Do you call yourself ex-gay?

Mr. CHAMBERS: Ex-gay is a word that I guess certainly could describe those of us who come out of homosexuality and who were formerly gay identified. But that is an incomplete term in my opinion. It's something that fails to convey who I truly am as a person. I am a man. I'm a husband. I'm a father. I'm a Christian. You name it. I'm so many things more than I am defined by what I used to do.

BRAND: Do you still struggle with feelings of homosexuality attractiveness to men?

Mr. CHAMBERS: My struggle with homosexuality is over for me today. That doesn't mean that I can't experience the temptation or a fleeting thought, but that's being a human being. And I'm not defined or is there any power in relationship to homosexuality over my life today.

BRAND: Michael Bussee, the founder of Exodus, he says he couldn't deny his homosexuality. He fell in love with another man and another ex-gay counselor. He now speaks out against ex-gay therapies. Do you agree with him?

Mr. CHAMBERS: Michael Bussee is a friend of mine, and he was one of 62 men and women who pioneered this great organization that I lead today. And because of that, I honor him. I am grateful to him. And as someone who is an adult, a mature adult, he can make those decisions and they may be different, but we can agree to disagree on those issues.

BRAND: Well, the fact that he's in a homosexual relationship, does that in your eyes make him a sinner?

Mr. CHAMBERS: The issue of homosexuality is very clear from a biblical standpoint. Just like so many other sins that are listed in the Bible, homosexuality is called a sin. But the truth is we are all sinners.

BRAND: Can you be a true Christian and be a practicing homosexual?

Mr. CHAMBERS: I believe that there are a lot of Christians out there who are involved in homosexuality, yes.

BRAND: Why not, you know, live and let live? And why is it important for Exodus to offer this alternative, as you call it, to people who are pretty happy being homosexual?

Mr. CHAMBERS: Well, this alternative isn't there for people who are happy. This alternative is there for people who are in conflict and who choose to decide something different than what the world says is best for their life.

Certainly, my life is far better. I'm far happier, more content and thrilled that this option was available to me, and that for the last 15 years I've been choosing it.

BRAND: But the world actually says the opposite. Most of the world is pretty anti-homosexual.

Mr. CHAMBERS: I would categorically disagree with that. We live in a very free and tolerant society where homosexuality is celebrated. It's something that is taught in the schools as good. It is something that we see in our media that is positive. So I would say that we don't live in a culture that is anti-homosexual, but very much the opposite of that.

BRAND: Alan Chambers is the president of Exodus International. Thank you very much.

Mr. CHAMBERS: My pleasure.

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